Monday, October 26, 2015

Will Wisconsin Republicans apologize to Kevin Kennedy?

Allegations against Lois Lerner found to be untrue. Will WISGOP acknowledge the same for Kennedy?

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin, in a desperate attempt to change elections rules to benefit their own interests, are attempting to decimate the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board. They would replace the GAB with partisan-based elections and ethics commissions.

In the run-up to their proposal, legislative Republicans made every effort to make Kevin Kennedy, director of the GAB, look like a partisan ideologue himself. In doing so, they questioned his professional friendship with Lois Lerner, who had been at the center of a national Republican witch hunt, having been accused of targeting conservative-leaning groups during the IRS scandal.

When State Sen. Chris Kapenga had questioned Kennedy’s professional relationship with Lerner during hearings on the GAB, it summoned memories of McCarthyism-era tactics, of guilt by association. “Have you no decency?” responded Kennedy, mimicking the line made famous by Joseph Welch.

The state Republicans’ tactics are indeed McCarthy-esque. Whether Kennedy knows someone on a personal level or not doesn’t make him guilty of a crime or even mismanagement. If it had, then Republicans in the legislature need to start asking Scott Walker those same sort of questions, since six of his aides were convicted as a result of a John Doe probe.

This past week it was revealed that Lois Lerner had done nothing wrong in regards to her actions at the IRS. Conservative groups were not improperly targeted, and accusations against Lerner were officially tossed out.
We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.
Kennedy was ridiculed for his association with Lerner. The GAB had, after all, investigated several conservative organizations and Scott Walker for illegally coordinating campaign strategies.

That investigation was a bipartisan effort, involving Republican and Democratic district attorneys, and had been prompted by all six judges on the Government Accountability Board.

Yet the Republicans continued to insist that the GAB had specifically targeted conservative groups. They cited the Kennedy-Lerner professional relationship as rationale for their doubts.

Now that Lerner has been found innocent of any and all targeting of conservative groups, such related assertions against Kennedy should also be invalidated. He is owed an apology, and the Republicans in the State Senate ought to call off the entire plan to dismantle the GAB.

It is blatantly clear that the move to change the GAB is itself politically motivated. It is legislative Republicans, not Kevin Kennedy, who are out to ruin the elections process in Wisconsin.

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